Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham are pushing for national biometric ID cards as part of their comprehensive immigration reform plan. Writing an opinion piece in The Washington Post, the senators argue that,
“We would require all U.S. citizens and legal immigrants who want jobs to obtain a high-tech, fraud-proof Social Security cards.”
Tech writer Declan McCullagh notes that
A Wall Street Journal article published March 8 included an interview with Schumer during which he said: “It’s the nub of solving the immigration dilemma politically speaking…If you say they can’t get a job when they come here, you’ll stop it.” It said the most likely type of biometric data to be included would be a scan of the veins in the top of the hand.
Apparently the President is interested:
Schumer and Graham pitched the idea to President Obama during a private meeting Thursday at the White House. Graham said afterward that Obama “welcomed” their proposal for a new ID card law; the White House said in a statement that the senators’ plan was “promising.”
Fortunately, they recognize the potential privacy threats that these cards represent and in two sentences dispel all fears.
“Each card’s unique biometric identifier would be stored only on the card; no government database would house everyone’s information. The cards would not contain any private information, medical information or tracking devices.”
Like so many encroachments on personal liberty, the initial impulse is rooted in good intentions. Does anyone really believe this technology won’t eventually be used for reasons less salutary than discouraging illegal immigration?